On the road during lockdown

Here's what motorists should know.

Meet Smokey Nagata

The man behind the legendary twin-turbo V12 Toyota Supra build.

WATCH: 'Most taxi drivers are better than you!'

2015-10-08 14:01


NOT THE SAFEST FORM OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT, BUT...: MasterDrive MD Eugene Herbert says most taxi drivers are better skilled than most drivers on the road. Image: Arrive Alive


Arrive Alive, in collaboration with advertising agency Lowe and Partners, released a series on ads that compare distracted drivers to serial killers.

Cape Town - When you've been driving for as many years as I have, you'd think you would know everything there is to know about road safety.

Road safety is a huge concern due to increasing fatalities on South African roads. In fact, road crashes is the No.1 cause of death in Gauteng...

As a South African Guild of Motoring Journalists member, it's mandatory to take some form of advanced driving course every two years. My turn was up and I was to enroll in a defensive driving course. 'Oh heck, this is going to be so boring!', I thought.

Boy, was I wrong...

I wasn't able to practice my racing line on track but it was one of the most interesting courses I have taken. I completed the course with a new respect as a driver and for fellow drivers on the road.

I learned many new aspects to road safety that I wouldn't normally consider. The driving instructor said some random things but there were some facts that will stick in my mind forever:

3 things to remember:
- "The faster you go, the bigger the mess"
- Speed is not a killer, we are."
- More children come through the trauma unit at Red Cross Children's hospital for crashes than burns or diseases.

Why you should take a defensive driving course

MasterDrive's group managing director Eugene Herbert explains why every SA driver should take a defensive driving course:

Herbert said: "Many people are of the opinion that when you talk about advanced driving its about going fast on the racetrack or the skidpan, etc. Now whilst there are certain benefits in doing those things that’s hardly advanced driving in the true perspective because all that it does is teach you the skill that should be uses in the place where you are taught and not where you are driving (e.g on the racetrack) not on the public roads.

“The defensive driving and this really goes back to research which has been developed in the UK for many years and the US as well. It’s a system of driving which teaches you to interact with other drivers so that you can prevent being in a crash that could either injure yourself or somebody else.

“And in during which case in the course you identify other hazards on the road. It makes you a safer driver on the road and that truly is advanced driving.”

Think SA traffic is bad? Watch this epic gridlock in China

What does defensive driving entail?

Herbert says Masterdrive enables you to learn "the mechanics of driving, how to interact with other drivers and learn to do so at a speed that is normal for travelling". 

He added: "No one travels at 60-70km/h. Cars are whizzing past at 120-130km/h. Now to a new driver that can be very disconcerting. There’s that and night driving – you don’t do your test at night. It doesn't teach you the challenge associated with that.

Herbert said that according to the transport government, about 16 000 people die on our roads every year. "To put that in perspective, it's the same as a jumbo get crashing every 10 days", he explained.

Herbert said: "For goodness sake, Buckle up! and Drive nice! He believes there is method to the madness. 

He also believes that "most taxi drivers are better drivers than you and I".

Watch the video below to find out why:

10 things you should know about crashes and driving -

- 1 in every 7 people are involved in a crash.
- 90% of all crashes are due to human error.
- When driving you should look 12-15 seconds ahead on the road and keep a safe following distance

- 1.4-million car crashes every year are due to drivers using cellphones
- You're 23 times more likely to crash when texting or just reading your phone 
- Awareness levels drop 35% even when using handsfree devices or just having your phone against your ear while driving.
- Airbags deploy at a speed of between 100 and 300km/h!
- Safety belt: you move forward 30 times your weight if not buckled up in a crash.
- Fatigue has a peak time: 3pm-5pm is when most drivers are least observant
- There's an ABC when driving: A = attitude, B = backdown and C  = keep a clear space around your car.

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